The Whole Earth and Watershed Festival Organizing Committee is committed to promoting science and environmental education. The Festival seeks to honor exemplary educators and local classes, youth groups or clubs through our annual Environmental Stewardship Awards.
CONGRATULATIONS to our 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award Winners!
Matthew Van Dixon
Matt helped create the STEAM lab at Cypress School. The lab is used daily to help student be creative in not only gaining knowledge in the field of Science but to help engage students to be stewards by incorporating ways to use everyday resources into their learning. Matt’s ability to engage students to become life long learners in area of protecting our resources and being proactive in creating an environment not only in the classroom but also in everyday life. Students are becoming conscientious about how the little things matter. The project has pulled together the entire school to have a feeling of connection with the staff and students. Parents are eager to be a part of the process in the lab and are learning of ways to use everyday common resources to help build the mind and protect the planet from more waste.
At Shasta College, Professor Randy Reed initiated a program associated with conservation research in cooperation with Operation Wallacea at biodiverse-rich sites around the world while earning transferable college-level credits. Over the past five years, the program has sent over 160 students to five different countries in all hemispheres. The program provides students with a global perspective on environmental issues, enables them to gain actual research experience with graduate, post-graduate, and doctoral level researchers from around the world specializing in conservation science, and assists them in acquiring critical knowledge about the role of each site within the global ecosystem. In addition, Randy has been a member of Shasta College’s Sustainability Committee since the Fall of 2013. This committee pushed to develop and implement a “cultural shift” on campus regarding everyday attitudes toward recycling, renewable energies, carbon emission reductions and waste stream reductions. Randy and fellow committee members have collaborated with physical plant staff, cafeteria staff, college administration staff and fellow faculty to establish recycling stations across campus and water filtration stations to reduce plastic bottle use. In the Fall of 2015, Randy led efforts to bring portable solar stations to the Shasta College campus worth over $1.5 million at no cost to the school or students. These solar stations have assisted in many projects on campus and have been accessible for student use and electrical vehicle use on campus. Randy brings his love of science, his passion for the natural world and his understanding of how we are changing the planet to the classroom in an interesting, compelling manner. Students are just not being educated by him. They are being inspired and awakened to the possibilities before them to behave responsibly and proactively to preserve the web of life for future generations through our knowledge and application of basic scientific principles.
Cassie Simons ran the day to day program at Whiskeytown Environmental School (WES) from 2008 to 2018. Cassie developed curriculum, maintained policies, attended meetings, including County Outdoor School Administrators (COSA) and maintained relationships between the WES program and local attending schools. She managed staff, food services and other nuts and bolts of a successful and beloved environmental education program. Cassie accomplished all this with professionalism and calm, often using her own ingenuity and creativity in the face of limited resources. Thousands of children attend WES during the years of Cassie’s leadership. The nature of a strong outdoor education program is that it results in the inspiration of those students. Outdoor education is where future biologists and environmental scientists are born. It’s where youth learn they are part of the planet ecosystem and not separate from it. They learn the environment is worth protecting. This is because they have new knowledge and awareness that a solid outdoor education experience can provide.
Students in the Design-Build Club learn and apply the basics of the Design Process to design solutions for their neighborhood. This year, the students repurposed old and used materials to build a Spin Art Making Bike.
This club meets weekly during the school year during after school program hours. The project required many hours of work and donated materials. Completion of the bike was student-driven and included many “brain breaks”. The students offered to explain the Design Process to younger students interested in the project. The building of Spin Art Making Bike came about when the school observed the Spin Art Bike at the 2018 Whole Earth Watershed Festival and wanted to have a Spin Art Bike at their annual school carnival. The Design-Build Club responded to this request by the Principal and a teacher at the school who also provided the bike. Teamwork and peer interaction were especially challenging where the project was a single build with many students working at once. Students worked at their own pace and rotated between tasks as they needed. Sometimes, this created conflict. The students understood participation was contingent on their willingness to work together and most were determined to remain in the Design-Build Club.
The link to our 2018 Winners page is here: https://wholeearthandwatershedfestival.org/2018-environmental-stewardship-award-winners/
These awards are sponsored by the Whole Earth and Watershed Festival The California Teachers Association, and Renew Dermatology and Laser Center.